Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why I fast - Attention must be paid

I am a bit scared now for my own health and safety, being somewhat weakened by 66 fast days this year, with about 30 in the past 100 days or so.


I started a fast about 12 hours ago, one that may end badly for me personally. I am asking for some attention to be paid. I am seeking answers.

I believe that this proposal that calls for payments by polluting industries to the people, and payments by those who take natural resources, could solve two of our greatest problems threatening the stability and sustainability of civilization. Many small problems would disappear.

This proposal would mean the economy would become focused on increasing efficiency in use of energy and other resources (to the extent necessary to bring the reality, in terms of resource depletion and other environmental impacts, into line with what the people want). And it would bring an end to extreme poverty.

The proposal is being allowed to languish. I find this fact very disturbing; so much so that I have not been able to give a normal answer to 'How you doing?' for about six years now, seeing as I do that people are willing to neglect a profoundly important proposal. (Perhaps I, too, would be thoroughly uninterested in carrying this idea forward if I were not the author of the proposal. Well, by whatever quirk of nature or accident, I am the author of a proposal, and I am VERY interest in that to which silence and inaction are common responses. The inclination of most people is to let these ideas languish.)

I am asking that the two professors at Assumption College, (Hickey or Kantarelis, one or another of them) say what they meant when they declined to share this proposal to a larger audience because it was said to be contrary to human nature. What changes in human nature would be needed (from what to what)? What did I write that caused them to hold this view? I would be happy to celebrate hearing from either of them on these questions by breaking fast.

(These professors took a substantial sum of money and invited me to their academic conference on the understanding that they would give an honest evaluation of a paper that elaborated on my ideas and then decide whether to publish. Truth be told, they did not specifically tell me that they would give a review. But I think the assumption is always that there will be honest dealings, and it is generally understood that there will be feedback (which there was) in the case of rejection of a paper. The problem is, though, that their critique, "change in human nature" is so vague as to be (shall I say?) inscrutable. Not analyzable. What change? And there was no reference to text, even after repeated emails to the two men (there was no reply at all) even to this date [12-24, late PM, latest update] to show what in the paper brought them to that conclusion. Common human decency requires honesty and courtesy. Where is it? I may be about to die for something I believe to be profoundly important. Nothing that anyone has said has caused me to waiver from that conviction. So be it, if need be. But if there is a fatal flaw, if there is a requirement for a not merely improbable but also highly implausible change to happen, if the proposal is not realistic or feasible, then surly I don't want to die for a flawed proposal. That would be a sad waste of a good life.)

Also, if ANY other person sees a fatal flaw in this proposal, PLEASE alert me! That would be a relief. I will not sacrifice my life for a flawed proposal. I only feel so strongly about this because I believe it to be important. If it is flawed, it can be let go.


If anyone, ANYONE, is aware of a better proposal for achieving these goals, PLEASE let me know. I will not sacrifice my life for a second-rate proposal.


Someone show me some sign, some evidence, that these ideas are to be part of the public discourse. Where is that conversation happening? When is that conversation happening? The hour is late.


If MANY people were to tell me that these goals are not important and that it is not worth pursuing changes that would be difficult to bring about, then I might celebrate our self-indulgent toboggan ride toward collapse with a bit of fruit... Not the outcome I would prefer. I prefer to think that I live in a society made up of people who really are concerned about these problems and goals. I mention this maybe as a way of inviting people to 'look at it squarely. These are important goals!'

(I feel certain that a small group of people could, if they chose to do so, make a topic part of the public discourse, at least in a local area...)

What news media and universities are not telling us: Systemic flaws are not reported

If a reporter or editor were to respond to this critique by resolving to remedy this blind spot in the reporting and publicly committing to doing so (or if they would tell me where the critique linked above is flawed) I would also be ready to end this fast. I would not feel a need to sacrifice my life to bring some topics and ideas to the public consciousness if those topics are being addressed in normal reporting, as they should be.


  1. Through six days of fast now. I smelled food today. I had to get out of there. Suddenly my energy level went way up. It reset my metabolism thermostat and has been a long time in subsiding, if I compare with earlier today. I was wired up, perked up, to find that food. I had been very low energy before that. Been feeling my body digest itself, it seems, with spikey feelings in my muscles, and aching bones.

  2. John, you are attempting a very noble task. I am sorry for dismissing you rudely a month or so ago. It very much seems to me that you would do a very great deal more good making sure that you're around to push your proposal than starving yourself to death. Everytime we put our proposals forward to the public, there is a chance that a seed will be planted. If you're gone, then your chance to plant those seeds will be gone. The media is not following your fast. I very much respect your attempt to draw attention in this way and your willingness to risk your life for the good of all. I think, though, that the costs to you far outweigh what will be accomplished by this action. I implore you to start eating again.

    1. The alternative to me dying for the cause is to live for it, of course. I like that idea. But I have reached the point where I feel I have to insist on a response to one of the points above. Just one. But one, not none. I would be happy (not really happy) I would feel some satisfaction, as a social being who has put out a call, if the several dozen people just from that small facebook friends list who appear to think these ideas are worth so little that they ought not be shared, or maybe they should be shared once amid a flurry of other things... then forgotten... if those several dozen people could help me understand how we can so casually let those best ideas languish... If I could somehow wrap my head around the fact that the best proposal people are aware of for resolving some very important problems is something we can casually neglect... That might help a bit. To understand how that can be true. That would be like that item above, where I ask people to tell me that these are not important goals, if they are not. That's how I can understand the unwillingness to share. The goals must not be that important.

      If I die as a result of this protest, then people who might take an interest in these ideas will have something I have not had. I was only able and am only able to say I think these are profoundly important ideas. Others will be able to say that these are very important ideas that someone was willing to sacrifice his life for. So a seed that would not grow earlier might germinate with that 'fertilizer'.

  3. Dear John,

    (just found your comments [early morning, 2/22/13])

    I was reading your comments on an NPR article 3 years ago, and found them to be clear, wide, and sane...-took me awhile to find your blog. The reason why no one is listening to you, is the dearth of humans currently on the earth who have a wide point of view, that is a view that is as wide as the human feeling, at least.

    I started reading more of your comments, but since I find them all to be inline with my own understanding generally, I stopped reading. I'm a little concerned with your possible morale at this point, as not getting responses must be disappointing. Also, fasting requires some knowledge, inorder to avoid damage to your system. If you are having any real trouble (it sounds like you are), you can email me. By chance I have a few videos I made while fasting last year (I've fasted every year for the past 40 some years) that might interest you...let me know and I can direct you to them on YouTube.

    I certainly hope you are still around...(below is directed to your 2011 blog, "An uncomfortable realization") but, I found your latest one (above) and chose to respond here.

    "Well, it shouldn't be allowed to languish, but it is. Now what? Well, I know what, but it will not do to say it. If I want people to sit up and take notice, I have to perform the most drastic symbolic act possible. Words are not enough.

    Or tell me where I am wrong. "

    ...Ok, - people here are on many different levels, and are influenced by basic forces within their being. Performing a "drastic act" is not going to change that. We should probably have a video chat and discuss things directly. There are really better things that you can do. Generally, using force (making people respond because of your fast), as you basically suggest, to get people to pay attention to what your are saying, doesn't really work...There are other issues you have brought up here and queries that you are making to readers, that I am eager enough to respond to. You can reach me at, and hopefully, we can arrange a videochat, or hangout as it's now called, via gmail. If you don't have the gmail apps, or you don't have Skype, I can walk you through the steps...Cheers, hope you are well, Lambert

    Ps There are certainly constraints on fasting safely. These include generally not fasting when you are ill, not fasting when you have to travel extensively, fasting only during the day, avoiding certain other activities while you are fasting, being sure to get sufficient water etc between fasts, and other things.

    Final note: I do have answers for you, that is, real answers/responses that you will very possibly respond to, so you can go on in your quest to understand, and not be blocked at the point you have currently reached (oh, by the way, I can't find you on facebook, please direct me.). - At least there is a very real possibility that I might be able to say something to you that will actually be of value. Here's hoping you will be open to that.